Meta has charged nearly $1.3 billion user data trade from E.U. to the U.S

May 23, 2023: European privacy controllers have fined Meta a record 1.2 billion euros over trading E.U. user data to the U.S.

The decision connects back to a case brought by Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems arguing that the framework for transferring E.U. citizen data to America did not protect Europeans from U.S. surveillance.

Several mechanisms to transfer personal data between the U.S. and the E.U. have been contested. The recent iteration, Privacy Shield, was struck decreased by the European Court of Justice, the E.U.’s top court, in 2020.

The Irish Data Protection Commission, which oversees Meta operations in the E.U., alleged that the company infringed the bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation when it continued sending the personal data of European citizens to the U.S. despite the 2020 European court ruling.

GDPR is the E.U.’s landmark data protection regulation that governs firms active in the bloc. It came into effect in 2018.

Meta used standard contractual clauses to transfer personal data in and out of the E.U. Any court of the E.U did not block this. The Irish data watchdog said that the European Commission adopted the clauses, the E.U.’s executive arm, in conjunction with different measures implemented by Meta. Therefore, the regulator said these arrangements “did not address the risking to the fundamental rights and freedoms of data subjects identified” by the European Court of Justice.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission told Meta to “suspend any future transfer of personal information to the U.S. within five months” from the decision.

The 1.2-billion-euro punishment for Meta is the increase any company has ever been charged for breaching GDPR. The last largest fine was a 746-million-euro charge for e-commerce giant Amazon for violating GDPR in 2021.

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